An early wake up call for myself, as I was staying at the Guvnors Gaff down in Thames Ditton. Now, the misses had mentioned that she had indeed quite fancied watching a game of football, and seeing what we all get up to come Saturdays. So was that a wise decision, for her to come along, and witness the unadulterated idiocy. She seemed at first extremely game to come along, so I was indeed warned by others that this was probably not a good idea. Well, Saturday morning, she decided to drop out, a little sigh of relief.
So, thankfully on me tod I jumped on the train from Thames Ditton, and trek it up to London Waterloo, and then jump onto the Northern Line a few stops to meet and greet the other members of the firm.
|Insert obvious "We have a problem!" joke here...|
So rocking up at Euston, in a world of my own, headphones in my lug holes, pumping out the latest Editors album. I walked casually towards the exit, and took a few steps outside into the surrounding courtyard of Euston Station, only to then be jumped by the E.I.C ! Well that's one way to say good morning I guess! So Mr X was placed in charge of obtaining the group save tickets to Hemel. So whilst he was off doing his thing, and getting hold of a fresh brew for the train journey, the rest of stood around discussing the latest delivery of goods we had received in from Poland in the week. In other news, Duke advised that following the hole in his back, and returning from work, he was under some aggro from the HR desk pencil pusher, and paper clip benders. Still I won't go into detail on that one, as I'm sure he will cover that himself in due course.
Waiting for us in the ticket hall, were the other members of the firm, Greek, Loffers, Nick the Welsh one, Indie, Sean Connery's stunt double, Taz, Mr X, Chalmers and myself. So after a quick shake of hands, the E.I.C informed us that we would indeed by jumping on the train within minutes. So a short walk down the concourse towards platform 10, where we located our West Midlands ride to Hemel.
Train ride to joke town.
Aboard the Train the conversation quickly turned yet again to the discussion of my mum-Juan's Mum. At this stage it's well worth pointing out, that this joke is getting slightly old, and yet some what tiresome, but hey, I went along with it, for fun. Chalmers in all his charm and wit, needed the old dears email address for some reason, which he decided to advise me at full volume on the train. This of course got the other boys going. So I advised Chalmers that perhaps a poke on Facebook, may be a viable option!
Greek, quickly adverted the conversation (thank god) onto the problems that occurred post Lewes, the assault which took place on the Sunday following the game. Apparently the assault was handed out by a Sutton Fan. Still we are looked at the photo, and couldn't find a match to any ones mug in the firm. However Duke pipes up and decided that the written description may match him- young, good looking, and all that. Who is he trying to kid eh!! Some 30 odd minutes later the train pulled into Hemel Hempstead, we had landed!
However the group had decided that we would in fact, not be stopping in Hemel for a drink or 10. But that plan was to await on platform one for the next available train into Apsley. So with 15 minutes to kill, the group located themselves on platform one, and did what they did best. Passed the time by insulting each other. I for one being accused of looking like a paedophile with my curly locks, dangling down my forehead.
Arrival in Apsley.
A short walk from the train station, the group found themselves at the first choice public house of the day. The Paper Mill. Clearly visible the clue was in the name, and old re-furnished Paper Mill located right next to and on the edge of the canal. A perfectly located pub for the local population come summer time. Now noted from the outside, this pub was a Fullers house, so this was going to be an expensive whip round.
|Expensive & posh. Not really us!|
With the first pint poured around the 11:30 mark, I took a wonder around ! Inside the boozer, you can find the standard bar, stretching the width of the pub, the typical dining area, mainly located upstairs, and an open fire next to the stairs. In my eyes a rather posh public house. In fact maybe a little too posh for us Sutton supporters/ piss heads. On that note the group decided that best we locate ourselves outside, given the way our conversations head, and the fact that the pub was holding a wedding reception of sorts, probably for the best. A slow first pint was knocked back, during which the conversation turned to the famous, or in some cases not so famous people linked with one of Sutton's Schools, Sutton Grammar in fact. I think this conversation stemmed from a link back to the posters on the Amber Planet Forum. The famous links to the School were indeed confirmed by the Wikipedia website. So if it's on Wiki, then it's gotta be true .....
At this stage the Greek one pointed out that in fact the group were not drinking quick enough, and clearly not pissed enough. So a further round was ordered from the whip, more Stowfords were necked, and the Greek one and Mr X came up with a plan to finish this drinks within a short period of time, and that we should move on to try another local pubs offerings. After all this pub, was costing us a small fortune, or in some cases a mortgage. Time to leave, and spend our hard earnt beer tokens elsewhere. But before leaving, there was a little thing we needed to do, to show our thanks. Well they say a picture speaks a thousand words....
|Yeah, that was us. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?|
Is 300 yards a third of a mile?
With Chalmers leading the way down the local roads, a small hike, of some 300 yards or so, we stumbled across the next pub. The Oddfellows Arms, now from the outside was this a wise choice? Had the Internet views sucked us in?
|Jukebox, beer, pool table. All a Sutton fan needs....|
A tiny looking pub from the outside, located on a cross roads on a busy main road. Stepping in side, well what a change of environment. Located in the centre of the pub, was a square shaped bar. To the left of the bar, was an area dedicated to local bands, complete with a small stage area, and even a small dance area. To the right of the bar, there was a pool table, and jukebox too ! So this pub clearly upped every ones mood, and clearly took away and pre match tension/ nerves. They even had Jeremiah Weed in the cooler. So we spent just under an hour in this pub, and managed to knock back two or three rounds before kick off. Members of the firm taking over the pool table, as well as going through the extensive list of tunes on the jukebox. With the time pressing, Mr X organised a cab journey up to the ground.
A game of two halves.
A short cab journey, some 10 minutes or so in the back of a seven seater, and we rock up at Hemels ground. A new ground for all of us, and the excitement could clearly be seen in our eyes. However the nerves of the fixture could also clearly be seen in the frowns. Paying for the entry into the ground, the next direction was for the Club Bar, however this was not to be. The Bar was rammo, the drinkers had even spooled out onto the terrace, tut tut tut !
So the plan was to get ourselves grounded behind one the goals, and set up camp ready for kick off. With everyone in position and ready for K.O the coin was tossed, and we had to change ends. Oh bollocks ! A quick move round to the other end of the park, and some three minutes into the game and we go and concede, not good, not fucking good at all! Nelson not standing his man up, and he goes past Nelson, and squares the ball into the box, and an easy unmarked man, completes the finish with a tap in. Well if that's not a welcome to Hemel, and a wake up call then nothing else is. Time to re-group, re-shape and get moving. Hemel continue to put us under some pressure and keep pressing our back four, by creating a further chance, missing a sitter from a cross which came in from the left.
Sutton not starting on all cylinders, get the ball back down on the deck, and start to put together some decent passes, creating some space in the middle of the park. Both Macca and Ali kicking into life, and start to dominate the middle of the park, breaking down Hemels possession. Macca feeding the ball to Binns out wide on the left channel, steams past his marker, and manages to box the ball, only for the Hemel keeper to prevent a Sutton shirt getting a touch.
|Action action action.....|
Further tactical play sees Sutton awarded a free kick out on the left. Macca steps up, and sends the ball into the box with a short dink. The ball is cleared away by Hemel, and Sutton pick up the loose ball, and send in a further shot which is deflected over the top for a Sutton corner. The corner is again cleared away by Hemel, but Macca holding the midfield well, puts Rivs in down the left wing, another cross is played into the box, yet again cleared away by Hemel. Macca again taking the ball to his feet, and sends in shot which is saved into the keepers gloves. Hemel on the back foot, and Sutton now keeping possession, and holding well, continue to press Hemel's back four. A delivery over from the left, Nelson, rises and connects onto the cross and sends the ball into the left hand corner of the net. Yes, yes we are back in the game at one a piece. All to play for.
Sutton taking charge, and playing the ball to feet, keeping Hemel a bay. Sutton up a gear, and press Hemel into further submission. Jamie Taylor is played in by Ali, and times his run well, and beats the man and looks up, and sees the Hemel keeper pressing the angle, and fires a shot from his favoured right boot, the Hemel keeper does well to get a glove to it. Both Taylor and Dundo following up, Dundo takes charge of the opportunity and stays cool under pressure, and bags himself a goal. Sutton now taking control of the first half after a shaky start. With the current score, Hemel 1-Sutton 2. The U's continue to gain control of possession, and press on to further the goal advantage. Sutton's 3rd goal build up comes from a Nelson throw in short to Macca. Macca brings the ball to feet and plays the ball back to Nelson. Nelson drives forward, and sends the ball to Ali's feet. Ali creates space and drives some 5 yards forward before looking up, and seeing that Hemel, have given him time and space to create an opportunity for himself, and fires a low driven shot, which passes the Hemel keeper, and finds its way into the back of the net. A beautiful strike.
Sutton now well in front, step off the gas, and allow Hemel back into the game, giving away a cheap Pen. From my perspective Dundo just out muscled the fella. Hemel step up and smash it down to Lovelocks left. Lovelock gets a hand to it, and palms it away, the ball going up in the air hitting the cross bar, and coming back down and out for Hemel to follow it up, and drive it into the net. Shit, letting them back in the game not good, not good.
All we needed to do is to hold onto the lead, to see us through to the next round. We get going again, but once more the man in black points to the spot for Hemel. Yet again we've given away another pen. Stuart not getting tight enough to his man, and loosing his man for a slight lack in pace. Clearly Hemel's game plan is to stick the ball up, and between our two boys, Downer, and Stuart, and try and out do us for pace. This time Hemel step up, and drive the ball straight down the middle of Lovelocks net. Fuck, back to an even set once more. May as well point out that for both pens the ref awarded no cards were shown-a tad strange that, but lucky to none the less.
With both Hemel , and Sutton creating chances up top. The ref once more points to the spot, this time in Sutton's favour. Slabbs picks up the ball, and places it down on the spot. Slabbs takes 5 paces back, and not looking too comfortable, starts his dead straight run, and strikes the ball to his left, and the keeper saves to his right. Dundo follows up, but smashes the ball over. Arrrgghhh, could have and should have taken the lead. Both Hemel and Sutton keep cracking away at each other. A number of changes for Sutton are made, both Slabbs and Binns go off to be replaced by Rents and Scanners! A number of challenges are made, and cards shown for the trouble. The final whistle blown, it finishes 3 a piece, with a replay set for Tuesday night down at The Lane. Pushing the Gosport fixture back to god knows when!
|Battle in full flow.....|
Get out of town and fast.
So there had been some chat pre-match that depending on the result, we may hit a train, or even a cab into St.Albans for a few. But that didn't happen, now did it. Instead a number of the firm pissed off out the ground without sending word to others. So instead we left the ground, took a left, and then took another left. Myself, the Welsh one and the E.I.C lagging behind the others, stomped through the local residential area, which for some strange reason looked similar to the St. Helier estate found at Rosehill. Not such a posh gaff after all. So with all the members of the firm present and accounted for we had a quick drink at the local pub, The Crabtree.
|Local pub. Local people.|
A quick pint of the worst cider, currently available for the cider connoisseur, Magners 'bloody awful' draft was sent down the Gulliver before planning our escape back to the safe house, The Oddfellows Arms. Given the fact some of us were getting a little tired of the '3-1 and you fucked it up' banter, amongst the stares. This was a local pub, for local people. We weren't locals, so I guess it was time to get the fuck outta here and quick. Mr B the local taxi fella turned up, and carried us back to the place we felt best. A short ride and we were back where we belonged. Back to the safety of the Jukebox and the Pool Table. Various beverages were consumed amongst the group, before we decided to call it time, and head back to the safety of London Town. Myself and the Duke headed off on our mission, whilst the other members of the firm headed off to the local superstore to grab supplies of food, and beers for the journey home. On arrival at the local Train Station to catch our 20:10 ride home. Mr X discovered a wolf mask on the train platform, and decided to hide himself in a bush, and give the others a scare. Did it work, yeah like fuck it worked. Still it gave us a little cheer for a while. Back in Euston the group split off . I had to get my ass back to Waterloo, to get my train back to she who must be obeyed gaff in Thames Ditton. So the fellas took a right and headed back towards Victoria. Receiving the nod from Duke I jumped on the Northern Line tube at Euston, and sat down. I passed through 5 stops, and thought to myself in a slightly pissed state, this don't seem right. Oh major bollocks I've got on the wrong fucking tube! So after being a twat and making a school boy error, I jumped off and headed back in the right direction this time. On arrival at Waterloo, I grabbed myself what was called a football special from Burger King, for the journey home, at a pricey cost of £7.49. I felt as if my wallet had just been raped for a cold burger and chips.
|Juan-less at Victoria.....|
Well Ladies & Gents, that was Hemel away, with the replay on Tuesday night. Let's hope we crack em, and get someone decent in the draw. Not to tempt fate. Oh and since Gandermonium has been back up and running, this has been the 100th update.
That's all from the one they call Juan.